James Gunn has no shortage of fantastic DC comic books to choose from when adapting stories for the big screen as part of the new DCU.
DC Comics has spent 80 years at the top of the comic industry, but their recent tenure in the film industry hasn't been going as well. The DCEU has had growing pains, but with writer/director James Gunn taking over as co-head of DC's films – with DCEU changed to DCU – many fans are hopeful for what's to come.
Gunn is a huge DC fan who knows the history of the company and its characters. With so many decades of comics and characters to choose from, the DCU has a lot of ground to cover, but there are some underrated stories, like Heroes in Crisis or Superman: Up in the Sky, that would work brilliantly on the big screen.
Wally West is DC's best Flash, and with current Flash star Ezra Miller's recent troubles, it might be time for Wally to shine. There are a lot of excellent Wally West comics to adapt, but a great one would be The Flash: Terminal Velocity, by writer Mark Waid and artists Mike Wieringo, Carlos Pacheco, Salvador Larocca, and Oscar Jimenez.
Some changes would be made, like the parts about the Speed Force and segments of the ending, but it's a great story that pits Wally against the terrorist group Kobra. It's an action packed story that shows everything great about Wally.
Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, by writer Brian Azzarello and artist Lee Bermejo, focuses on Superman's worst enemy. It shows Lex in his newest scheme, as he creates a brand new anti-Superman android. It leads to what he thinks is his best plan yet, but things take a turn when Lex falls in love with the female automaton.
Everyone is used to Lex as monstrous villain, but seeing the way Azzarello and Bermejo present him in this story is very different. DCEU Lex wasn't exactly beloved. Telling a new type of Lex story, something akin to 2019's The Joker, could be just the thing to bust him out of the dumps.
The Legion of Super-Heroes were once quite popular, but too many continuity reboots hurt the team's popularity. This might make it seem like they shouldn't get a movie, but taking chances is just what DC needs. The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga, by writer Paul Levitz and artists Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstedt, could make a huge splash.
The story, pitting the Legion against a returned Darkseid, is a banger. The Legion is very complicated, with a roster in the double digits, but is also rather simple, as their powers are all in their name. Split the story up into a two-parter, let Gunn write and direct, and watch the money roll in.
Superman: Up in the Sky is a must-read Superman story. Written by Tom King with art by Andy Kubert, the book follows Superman as he goes on a quest across space to keep a promise to rescue a little girl. It's a travelogue through the DC Universe, as Superman faces the worst threats imaginable to rescue one person.
With Henry Cavill returning as Superman, fans want to see a more traditional Superman. This is definitely that kind of story. It shows off everything great about the character and is a more sunny take on the Man of Steel than Snyder's more complicated version.
Many DC events are worth the hype, but not all of them get the fan attention they deserve. DC One Million, by writer Grant Morrison and artist Val Semeiks, brought the Justice League of America together with the Justice Legion A of the 853rd century. The JLA go to the future, but are caught in a trap from Solaris the Tyrant Sun and the Vandal Savage of the future, with the future team trapped in the past.
This story just keeps hitting readers with bigger and bigger stakes. It's the kind of spectacle that could rival anything the MCU puts out if done correctly. However, it's also very noticeably DC, as it plays into ideas of legacy that Marvel just doesn't have.
Black Adam introduced the Justice Society to the world, and now it's time to take advantage of that. A great way to expand the team's line-up on the big screen would be to adapt JSA: Stealing Thunder, by writers Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer and artists Peter Snejberg, Keith Giffen, Leonard Kirk, and Stephen Sadowski. The book focuses on Johnny and Jakeem Thunder, two underrated Justice Society members.
The story sees Johnny Thunder's Alzheimer's get better, which sees him ask Jakeem for the Thunderbolt back. However, it's the Ultra-Humanite in control of Johnny, leading to the villain using the powerful genie to take over the world. Jakeem puts together a ragtag new JSA to fight for the planet. It's such a great story and something that movie fans could connect to immediately.
Wonder Woman is DC's greatest warrior, but she's taken a hit in the movies. Her first movie is beloved, but the sequel not so much. The way to fix that is to do the most DC thing possible and throw Batman into a movie with her. Wonder Woman: The Hiketeia, by writer Greg Rucka and artist J.G. Jones, is a story that does just that.
Wonder Woman takes in a woman who makes her swear to protect her. The problem is she's a murderer and Batman's after her. This puts the two teammates against each other, while revealing the truth behind the murder. It's such a great tale and would shine on the big screen.
Swamp Thing: The Anatomy Lesson, by writer Alan Moore and artists Simon Bissette and Jon Totleben, changed Swamp Thing and DC forever. The story revealed that Alec Holland was dead and Swamp Thing was a plant made sentient from the formula Holland created. The Floronic Man uses what he learned dissecting Swamp Thing to attack the Earth.
The Anatomy Lesson is legendary. It's a mixture of superheroes and horror like nothing else put on the silver screen. Alan Moore may hate when his work is adapted, but this is a story that could change the fortunes of the DCU. It's a masterpiece of a comic and could be the same as a movie.
The Justice League is DC's greatest team, but in the movies they aren't doing as well. That can easily be changed by adapting the right story. Justice League of America: The Tornado's Path is that story. Written by Brad Meltzer with art by Ed Benes, it brought together a new roster of the team to face off against a shadow manipulator.
The Tornado's Path is peak Justice League. It gave readers a sense of history while also being something entirely new. It's just the kind of story that can be adapted and made into something special, showing everyone how great the League is.
Heroes in Crisis reveals some of the Justice League's darkest secrets. Written by Tom King with art by Clay Mann and Mitch Gerads, the story is a mystery about a murder at Sanctuary, a superhero mental health facility. It wasn't well received by fans, but it would make for a good movie.
A superhero mystery movie, that plays into the mental health concerns of superheroes, is an interesting hook for a film. The comic is better than it gets credit for; it's only badly received because of its tarring of Wally West. Movie audiences won't have a problem with that and just enjoy the story.
NEXT: 12 Great DC Comics With Well-Written LGBTQ+ Characters
David Harth has been reading comics for close to 30 years. He writes for several websites, makes killer pizza, goes to Disney World more than his budget allows, and has the cutest daughter in the world. He can prove it. Follow him on Twitter- https://www.twitter.com/harth_david.